Mobile is where the user is, mobile is where the money is. According to a latest announcement from research firm Gartner, “The number of mobile connections in India is expected to grow by 8 percent to touch 815 million this year, even as the market is expected to remain at almost the same level as last year – at $19.2 billion.”
The company further stated that the mobile user base is expected to grow to 815 million this year, from 755 million connections in 2013.
While the user base is proliferating at an accelerated pace, Gartner states that the mobile market in India is going through a rough patch, reason being the voice average revenue per user (ARPU) is falling very fast.
Gartner Senior Research Analyst Neha Gupta states, ” The mobile market in India is going through a rough patch, where voice average revenue per user (ARPU) is falling very fast, and the increase in data ARPU is not able to fully compensate for the decline.”
She added that if the prevailing market conditions do not change in the Indian mobile market, India will account for 12 percent worldwide mobile connections. However, the country will account for just 2 percent of worldwide mobile services revenue.
The present challenge has been thrown to the telecom operators in the country due to the explosion of smartphones in the country, resulting from the growing appetite of customers for over-the-top (OTT) voice services.
Listing the challenges, Gartner has also shared possible solutions. One of them is packing and selling mobile broadband in small and affordable chunks, at a time when low fixed broadband is still not cheap. Additionally, focusing on innovative mobile apps that help increase loyalty of the consumer.
“These could go beyond the popular category of social and video apps to include utility apps like shopping apps. Apps that can provide high user-experience on low tech phones are likely to have higher traction than others,” Gartner said. It further added that operators that engage with popular content and service brands and bundle their apps and services with their data plans will drive consumer interest in mobile broadband.
India is still dominated by feature phones even though smartphones are on the rise. The latest ad solution introduced by Facebook around missed call feature, clearly showcases how big is the feature phones space in emerging markets like India.
Recently, telecom equipment maker Ericsson also released its extensive report on Indian smartphone user behaviors – Ericsson Consumer Insight Summary Report. The report states that Indians spend over 3 hours a day on their smartphones, and 25 percent of consumers check their phones over 100 times a day. While the smartphone penetration is spiking but bad network, infrastructure problems are impacting the consumption needs of the customer.